Board-certified dermatologist Dr. Annie Chiu believes that healthy skin should be attainable by everyone. At The Derm Institute, her South Redondo Beach, Calif, facility, she focuses on both cosmetic and medical dermatology. She specializes in facial rejuvenation, using fillers and neuromodulators such as BOTOX, along with lasers, peels, and a personalized skincare program, as well as medical dermatology including a multidisciplinary approach to acne and skin cancer treatment. With the right combination of minor procedures and good skincare, Dr. Chiu believes that the doctor-patient partnership can have a real impact on how patients feel about themselves.
What are the most common myths about acne-prone skin and its treatment?
A lot of people believe that washing their face frequently and avoiding moisturizers all together will control oily or acne-prone skin. However, the result of over-washing (more than twice a day) or not using any moisturizers at all is that the skin becomes superficially dry, which causes the oil glands to produce even more oil. This can become a vicious cycle. I always recommend washing your face twice a day and to use an oil-free moisturizer if your are prone to acne.
Is Botox® only for the frown lines? What else can you do with it?
Although Botox is FDA approved for the frown lines between the eyebrows, dermatologists commonly use it for forehead lines, crow’s feet, and neck bands. Some lesser known ways of using Botox include utilizing the product to lift the corners of the mouth, lessen a gummy smile, or lift the tip of the nose. With careful expert use of the product, we can address a lot of problem areas with Botox alone, or in combination with fillers. I specialize in artistic and subtle methods of facial rejuvenation with advanced techniques involving the use of fillers, neuromodulators such as Botox, along with lasers, peels, and a personalized skincare program.
What is the “trapped-on-a-desert-island” skincare product you cannot do without?
I’m such a beauty junkie that I don’t know if I could choose! But if it’s a desert island, for sure a broad-spectrum sunscreen: I love La-Roche Posay’s Ultralight Sunscreen Fluid. For a little anti-aging activity, I would sneak in a topical retinoid if I can have a second product.
Another wonderful all-in-one anti-aging product is SkinMedica’s TNS Essential Serum. There are some great clinical studies behind it that show it can improve fine lines and the overall texture of the skin.
Why is the specialty of dermatology fulfilling for you?
I love making people feel more confident and radiant. The interaction with patients and the vast number of procedural advancements in the field is unparalleled. I take a very personalized and artistic approach to skin rejuvenation. With the right combination of minor procedures and good skincare, we can have a real impact on how our patients feel about themselves—with minimal downtime. It is incredibly gratifying to see the tangible results of patients not only looking, but feeling wonderful as well.
How can our readers tell if their cosmetic practitioner is qualified to perform a procedure or give an injection?
Feel free to ask questions of your cosmetic practitioner. Where were they educated, what is their experience? Ask for before and after photos of actual patients of the person treating you. Make sure they have an overall plan and that their aesthetic style is consistent with yours.
Just because a skincare product is expensive, does that mean it is effective?
It is a little secret that a lot of companies spend more on marketing and packaging than the actual product. So no, price is not always indicative of how well a product works. Everyone’s skin is unique, so having a discussion with your dermatologist to come up with a personalized regimen is very important. Look for products with well-designed clinical trial evidence of its efficacy. I’m tempted by beautiful packaging too, but stop to look at the ingredients, and if they are too complex to understand, always ask your dermatologist.